ROYAL CENTER, IN. – It was a tall task Friday Nov. 10 as the LaVille football team played for a IHSAA regional football title for the first time since 2003. The Lancers were in a HNAC rematch and showdown with Class 1A, No.1-ranked Pioneer.
The Lancers battled all night against a tough Panther bunch before succumbing, 38-0.
Pioneer took the opening kick-off and went five plays in 64 yards, highlighted by a 45-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jack Kiser. The 2-point conversion was good and the hosts led, 8-0.
The Lancers were not able to move the ball on their first drive and forced to punt.
With just over six minutes remaining in the first quarter. Pioneer moved the ball, before LaVille’s defense forced a fumble. Senior David King jumped on the loose ball to give the Lancers momentum.
The offense, however, was unable to move the ball and forced to punt again.
Pioneer would make a 12-play, 51-yard drive to close the first quarter and begin the second period. Kiser dove in from 1-yard out, and successfully completed the 2-point conversion to put the Panthers up, 16-0.
Both teams had the ball two more times in the second quarter. Unfortunately, LaVille was held to a pair of punts, while Pioneer scored two more TDs. Kiser finished a 65-yard drive on a three-yard run, then found the goal line from 17 yards away. Both 2-point attempts were successful as the Panthers opened a 32-0 lead.
âPioneer is the #1 ranked team in the state,â said Hostrawser. âThey are the odds on favorite to win the title. They execute their game plan at a level of speed that is very hard to simulate in practice. I did not think that we tackled very well tonight. I thought we were in position several times but they slid off and I think the weather got the best of us to be honest with you. That’s not to take anything away from Pioneer. They’re a great football team.”
The Lancers held tough in the second half, as they held the Pioneer offense to just six points. LaVille’s offense, however, couldn’t had trouble moving the ball into Panther territory until the final drive of the game. The Lancers picked up a pair of first downs on runs of 19 and 12 yards to put LHS at the Pioneer 28-yard line. The final pass of the game into the end zone was intercepted as time ran out.
“I think we’re very young,” said Hostrawser. “We only graduate six kids and those six kids have matured a tremendous amount across the season. I think they became very, very good leaders for us in a number of ways both vocally and physically. That’s one positive. We have a lot of people that are coming back and a decent sized class coming in. These kids figured out how to win a sectional. That’s something that we haven’t been able to do in the past couple of years.
âThis team has been proving a lot of people wrong all season â they refuse to give in to the âwe are rebuilding this seasonâ mentality,â continued Hostrawser of his Lancer team that had won five straight coming into the regional. âA lot of people wrote us totally off after the big graduation losses we had last season. We were not supposed to do any of this. At one point in the season we were 3-4 and only scored one offensive touchdown in three games. We have come a long way â our young guys have grow up and our seniors have learned how to lead. We have all worked together really hard to get better week in and week out. This team has played in a lot of close games this season â we have been pushed back up against the wall several times only to fight back and find a way to win together. In order to do that, everyone must believe in the abilities of one another. This team is special for that reason â they all role their sleeves up and just get after it. They are the very definition of âblue collarâ â they are Lancers!â
* * * * *
PIONEER 38, LaVILLE 0
At Royal Center
Score by Quarter
Pioneer 8 24 6 0 – 38
LaVille 0 0 0 0 – 0
P – Jack Kiser 45 run; Ezra Lewallen run.
P – Kiser 17 run; Kiser run
P – Kiser 3 run; Danny Gregorich run
P – Kiser 17 run; Lewellan run
P – Lewellan 25 run; pass failed
Yards Rushing 44 274
Yards Passing 9 127
Comp-Att-Int 1-8-2 6-11-0
First Downs 4 16
Fumbles-Lost 0-2 2-2
Penalties 3-15 1-5
Punts 7-29 1-25